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Research at the Max Rubner-Institut (MRI) focuses on consumer health protection in the nutrition sector. The institute advises the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in this area. MRI was founded on 1 January 2008 as the successor to the Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food (BfEL). In addition to its headquarters in Karlsruhe, MRI also conducts research at centres in Kiel, Detmold and Kulmbach. And there’s an unit with research focus on fish quality in Hamburg.
Four of MRI’s eight departments as well as the MRI Analysis Division use a cross-product approach, focusing their research on investigating the quality rating of foodstuffs in terms of nutritional physiology and health, food safety and bioprocess engineering. This approach traces the active chain of nutrition from the level of molecules and cells to the entire organism. One particularly important area is the study of nutritional behaviour. The results of this cross-product research are incorporated in recommendations for healthy nutrition.
The research work undertaken in the other four departments relates to specific categories of foodstuffs such as cereals, vegetables, milk and meat. In these departments the entire food chain is studied.  MRI’s research, which is geared to the production chain, targets the safety and quality of foodstuffs as well as the sustainability of food production. Investigations cover the whole period from the moment of harvesting or production through to the consumer.
The Max Rubner-Institut is responsible for the continued development and implementation of National Nutrition Monitoring and the Federal Food Key. It also undertakes national tasks in the context of the Agricultural Statistics Act and the Precautionary Radiation Protection Act.